The Looming Monster

monster-2772071_1920

 

Hey gang!

Sometimes I wonder about me. The other me. The insecure part of ourselves that tends to bleed through. I always wonder what that part of me would be like if it was the me that is the most prevalent part.

We all have these masks that hide our crazy, right? In dating, I call it the “three month monster”. Three months, I have found, is the amount of time needed to have that ugly part of us rear its’ head and snarl.

“I never want to hear about your ex because I worry they are better looking than me,” it squeals.

“I feel the need to drag you down because I feel like I don’t deserve you the way you are,” it says slobbering in your ear.

“I cannot let people in,” it growls.

These things are hard to hear or understand when it’s external. We think my gawd! this crazy so and so is frightening. I need to jump out of this relationship with or without a parachute! Burn it! Burn it with fire!

However, sometimes, when we look at ourselves, we can see that creature. We face it, whether we like it or not. What does yours look like?

I know what mine looks like. It’s large and looming. Somewhere in the corner of the room. Its head hits the ceiling and it crouches its bulk to fit. It grumbles in my ear from afar. It tells me I’m insecure about my worth, it tells me I’m not good enough. It reminds me that I am completely un-whole.

I am sure you’re thinking to yourself, “This dude has issues.” You’re right. I do. Who doesn’t? I feel like to live a decent life, you have to have some issues. If you don’t, what have you come up against? What struggle has shaped you the way water shapes the earth it runs across?

However, when we realize our issue monster looms over us, inside of us, what do we do?

Do we confront it? Do we hide it? Do we embrace it?

This image of me in the corner is ever present but it is up to me, to us, to remember that it is merely a part of us. We are gatekeepers. The masks we have hide them. I suggest getting rid of the mask and confronting the beast. It’s the only way to truly move forward. I recognize the me-creature who whispers to me things about myself I hope aren’t true but I take it with a grain of salt and smile.

Why do I smile?

I smile because, without me, there is no monster.

Rotten Hamburger

Eject, Emit, Expel, Gag, Heave, Hurl, Nasty, Puke

 

Hey Gang!

My aunt’s birthday was Monday. The family got together, which rarely happens, and we all went out to dinner. It was a great day. The End.

Kidding.

It was a fantastic day, but I couldn’t help but realize how different I act around my family. I’ve been to college and I consider myself a somewhat douche-y intellectual. However, above all, I consider myself a good dude. It takes family to remind you just how awful you really are.

My family has always been a pretty dark humored bunch. Dark humor tends to come about from dark circumstances. My family is no different. We yell and we cry and we laugh through the dark times, of which there seem to be many. Usually, I am silly and goofy and joke about fun things but when I get together with my family, I can tell how much I change. Normal things I find taboo tend to  come front and center for cracking jokes about.

I drove down a few back roads on our way to lunch. The cool air ripped around us while we remained toasty inside, to my lament. I always enjoy things between 65-67 degrees. My aunt likes her temps between 73-hell fire degrees. It was her birthday so I said, “Well, I suppose it’s okay that I have back sweat for a little while.”

“Turn down that road over there,” Josh said pointing left. As we’ve gotten older and dealt with our own demons, I notice our bond growing. Pain knowing pain. He points down an old road leading to town.

“I thought you were hungry? Eyes on the prize,” I said.

“Oh yeah,” Josh said as he sat back into the passenger seat. He looked the smallest bit defeated. I would have felt bad had I not been hungry enough to literally eat a person (not the whole person, just, like, a leg or something).

“Well, we should go by there after dinner. There’s a creeper* van back there for sale. Who the hell would buy that?” he shook his head.

“I mean, maybe it’s meant for kidnapping,” I said. “You know, long windows and all that. Pretty easy stuff.”

We laughed. What follows from there is a conversation only meant for those in the car. However, I will tell you that, by the end, Josh had a Haram and massive house where they stayed in a particular wing and cleaned or made love to him. I, on the other hand, was madly rich because I “procured” people. Basically I was like the other side of Taken but for high class individuals. No garbage, drug-laden prostitute dens. Sultans only!

We grabbed dinner and hopped back in the car. There was a lot of heavy breathing and burps, as usually follows a trip to Golden Corral.

Josh mentioned he felt like he was about to throw up. I told him he should just let loose as it wasn’t my car.

“Must’ve been all that ROTTENNNN HAMBURGERRRR,” Josh said in a gravelly voice and glass shattered in my mind.

Isn’t it funny how things in our childhood drift away? We say or do something that is funny or terrible in the moment and then time happens. You fall in and out of love, go through school, and live your life. All the while, this one event gets pushed further and further back until someone casts their line out, hook it, and reel it to the surface.

All I needed to hear was “Rotten Hamburger” and that old memories wriggled on the hook like an angry bass.

I was seven or eight; Josh would have been twelve or thirteen. We spent most of the day together and had McDonald’s. He started feeling nauseated and we went home. He started throwing up and I was an asshole. I decided to peek my chubby brown face around the corner and lightly taunt him.

“Oh, not feeling so well?”

*blargghhhh*

*huffing*

“You know what it probably was? That hamburger. Didn’t it taste funky?”

*wretch*

*heavy breathing*

“Chris, shut the hell up and go sit down,” my mom yelled to me as she rubbed my cousin’s back.

“That’s it. It must have been that ROTTENNN HAMBURGERRR”

*violent barfing*

“It was so brown. I bet the cook didn’t even wash his hands when he served it up. I can smell all that ROTTENNN HAMBURGERRR.”

*coughing*
*brown puke*

I repeated it in differing ways, each time met with a concert of burping, puking, gagging, and farting.

I finally weaseled my way between my mom and aunt to continue my verbal assault but I stopped in my tracks.

It was the combination, really. The mixture of the sour bile smell mixed with a big mac all swirled up with half-digested fries hung in the air while the toilet in front of me bled brown, chunky liquid. The high pressure of vomit smell and the low pressure of disgusting brown chunks everywhere met and created a tornado in my stomach.

I felt dizzy and stumbled backward. To the kitchen, threw my head into the sink and through up so hard my back popped. It was one of those vomit sessions where it just keeps coming and when you finally feel like you have nothing left in you, it comes again.

My cousin walked in watery eyed behind me. I turned for a moment to see him smiling.

“Must’ve been that ROTTENNN HAMBURGERRR,” he smirked.

My stomach convulsed and a symphony of terrible noises came from my body as I hurled everything I had into the sink.

A split second later, I was back in my car’s driver’s seat.

I nearly crashed laughing. I apologized profusely.

“It’s okay. It’s funny now,” Josh said.

It is funny now. All of it. When you’ve known someone your whole life, you’re watching their life movie while living yours. My movie left that scene on the cutting room floor but for his movie, it made the cut.

I realized how much of an asshole I was as a kid. Doing anything for a laugh. Then I thought about who I was just hours before when talking about the creeper van. I’ve come to realize, for better or worse, we are our truest selves when around those who hold a mirror up to us and show us who we were.

-Chris

 

The Inoculation

HEY GANG!

I have been absent recently, for which I apologize. It has been strange, this infection. Maybe a series of them. Not in the typical sense, but in the metaphorical. For the past few months I have been incognito because I have been working on my thesis. The huddles to jump over, just in paperwork, is staggering and daunting. I have been locked up for so long and bogged down with the pressure that I forgot some things about life. About living it and enjoying it. About how to do it.

I was in this tumbling vortex of nothingness. Absent of light. Merely tasks. I truly enjoy graduate school, but after the past few months, I feel suffocated by it. It changed me. Molded me. I didn’t know peace until I was beginning to write this (kudos if you get the Dark Knight Rises reference).

Sometimes, we get infected by something. It attaches to cells and lives in our blood as it propagates.

I was down for a long time. It was strange. My house was in disarray, literally and figuratively. Worst of all I lost the will to write. I consider myself a writer but what happens when a writer does not write?

They cease to be a writer.

Look yourself up in the dictionary. Define yourself and delete it. You are no longer what you were; you are the absence of what you were.

So, call me Absence.

Absence continued to slug its way through life. Working out drifted away. It merely cared for one sweet, tiny Chaweenie named Eleanor Rigby. Absence moved through the motions as the virus of a muted life took hold.

This became even more prevalent when Absence was used as a punching bag for his mentor. A trusted individual who destroyed the white blood cells of gratitude. Absence was troubled by this. Absence drifted away for a long time.

Absence secluded itself and began to think of all the possibilities of anything else but what has occurred. What if it had continued at Habitat for Humanity, What if it had chosen another form of school, another mentor? What if this? What if anything?!

Anger raged in Absence. The virus spread even furthers as it consumed Absence. Every waking moment was devoted to hate, fear, and sadness. Unable to define itself, its motives, or its place in space and time, it began to devolve.

This was until Absence got perspective. It realized that it was no longer going to be affected by the words of another. It was going to strive to get better. He was going to remember what it was like before the viral catharsis of a hypocrite. Before became now and It became he became me.

Absence faded and with this simple blog post I fill the absence with six letters:

W

R

I

T

E

R

This is my inoculation. I will refuse to be torn down by others or anything in this world. As you should say to yourself. I no longer accept the virus of others. That is theirs and theirs alone. Love yourself because you are the only you that will ever exist…but that is another post.

Best regards in your own inoculation,

-Chris

Among Beasts

Artist: Benjamin Thompson
Artist: Benjamin Thompson

Hey Gang!

If I have trouble finding my way to this computer to type out a story, it is usually not from writer’s block. No, rarely is that the case. Offline I probably say too much and I try not to bore you with so many of those terrible details. I also try to stay away from topics that are taboo to speak of. Those things that make us grip our knees a bit harder when someone brings the topic up. I must ask you to please begin gripping at this time.

I was walking around a store back home a few weeks ago and I remember I was just meandering through each aisle. Never really checking on anything; just observing. I truly enjoy those minutes where you are almost oblivious to your surroundings. You are just present. Well, I remember walking down the aisle and something happened that hasn’t happened to me in a long time. I saw the woman in front of me take her bag and shift it from the side of her where the bag was facing me and then to the other side of her. I saw her knuckles create a death grip around the strap as she walked sure-footedly past me at a brisk pace.

She saw me and thought, “There is a guy that is going to rip my purse from my shoulder and run through this large department store with it, making a quick getaway.”

Her irrationality was insulting. I wasn’t dressed in a manner befitting whatever stereotype she probably held. I had nothing on my head but glasses. Yet, to her, I looked as if I were going to snatch her purse.

I would like to say this hasn’t happened before but it has. The cause or why they believe that this would happen is not the issue for me. The issue is what that means to me, to us, people who have had this problem. Don’t mistake this as a simple race thing. Ask the Indian person who finds hate for being mistaken for a “terrorist”. Ask a person of middle eastern descent what they have experienced. Keep going with these. Keep asking the same questions. Then ask, “How does it feel?”

I remember when it first happened. I was 11 and at a store with my mother. A woman walked past us and gripped her purse tightly as she walked by while giving me a dirty look. I asked my mother why she did that and my mother said, ” Don’t worry. That’s her problem. Don’t make it yours.”

I suppose she was right. It happened later as well. A few friends and I would walk around a store and the LP people would follow us. Some might say I am mistaken and I will say that I can’t blame them for believing that. It makes me angry that I work so hard to be an individual and it is all for not.

Color me grey.

I want no color or identifier. If this is what comes with it; let me be grey. I think of myself as a proud person. I don’t celebrate any side of my heritage. Black, White, Shoshone; they are of little relevance to me. They are like having green eyes or blonde hair. It is a trait, not who I am. I live this way and I treat others this way. We operate on the maxim of how we wish to be treated.

In my ignorant bliss that is devoid of color, I am drawn out when things like that happen. It brings you back out of that cloud you are in. It sends this cold feeling down your spine and your cheeks turn warm. You feel disbelief. You wonder what you did that caused it to happen. You. You. You.

It seeps into you. It reminds you that no matter how hard you try, you will always be thrown into reality, or at least our culture’s reality of what you are. I can get degrees all day long but I still know what it feels like when people look at you with resentment. Not of stature but of what you represent. I am sure you may have different views and I would love to hear them but I have to say mine. I know this has happened to many people but why don’t we talk about it?

A little more than 100 years ago, my hometown had one of the largest race riots in the country. This is not a southern town, by any means. This is the capitol to one of the bigger states that were part of the union. 100 years is not a long time.

I look in the mirror and I see a semi-handsome, devastatingly charming, and funny young man (hey, my self-esteem isn’t too bad, right?). That is who is in my mirror. To the world, I am many things. I am a statistic. I am a thought that someone has conceived from watching too much Law and Order: SVU.

This problem comes from both sides. I may seem like a criminal to some but to others I am not part of that group because I don’t speak colloquially.

I let this bother me a few weeks ago and it hurt. I thought of what people did for women’s rights in the early 20th century and for civil rights in the 40s 50s and 60s. The dreams of those people . I wonder if they are embodied today?

I remember this old philosophical saying that played in my head while my hurt writhed and turned in on itself until it was anger. “He who makes a beast out of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.”

Isn’t that easier? To be that beast. Be the entity that is no longer at the mercy of social niceties and norms. Not sociopathy but something close. I thought that after all these years of speaking in a vernacular that showed nothing of regional dialect and of reasonable poise, years of gaining knowledge of myself and the world around me; I thought that it wouldn’t hurt as bad as when I was 11 but I was wrong. It cuts a bit deeper.

Beasts. I have met a few. They are frightening individuals but only because they enjoy being a beast. I won’t do that.

I love meeting new people and enjoying new cultures. When someone says the “n” word or speaks poorly of white people, they both cut deep. I am every bit as much white as I am black as I am Shoshone. Why is it that those traits have created a barrier of hate between me and getting to know a culture or a person?

Ambassadors. More than 40 years later and every person of color has to be an ambassador to their race. For multiracial individuals, you have to be able to represent more than that. You have to blend into the palate.

I am tired of being an ambassador or a surprise when it comes to education and the like. I love my caramel skin but to me it is a symbol more than anything.

I wish I could sit here and be more uplifting about this. I wish I could say, “but on a happy note!” There is a blurring line but it isn’t prominent. I sit here typing to you and all I think about is how much work I have done to be an individual and something as simple as a word that is said, not even about me or to me, can bring me down to a base level. It doesn’t matter who says it or what race they are. The word has meaning.

Words are powerful. Words are dangerous.

I will always strive to be the individual I want to be. I don’t want to break stereotypes because that means I was in one. I want to be outside of a stereotype. I want to keep my skin tone but cover it in grey. I want all of these things for me and for others because it is dangerous to be among beasts.

-Chris

IDQT Gets Violated!!!

Hey Gang!

I am laughing pretty hard right now. My friend was trying to google search my blog to show a friend. He came across this little ditty:

http://introspectionsduringquiettime.blogspot.com/

I would like everyone to know that that, in fact, is not me. Not even a bit. I think it’s weird that this guy would create a blog spot on blogger, take two of my original posts and then claim they were his! What bothers me a bit more is that he only stole two of my posts…What? Did my writing go downhill after those two? I am a bit offended sir!

In all honesty though, I wish he had given me attribution or something at least. So, to say to you Sashreek Reddy…FOR SHAME! But also thanks for digging my blog enough to take my posts…